Week 5, Day 5
Being Known For Our Hospitality
By: Nate Porter
1 Timothy 5:10
and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.
Reputation. It's a loaded word. It's what you're known for. When your name comes up in conversation, what do people immediately think about? What do they say? A bad reputation will provoke gossip, whispers. Do you get dirty looks from your coworkers as you pass by them in the hall? Now you know why. A bad reputation, whether it's earned or not, sticks to you like a shadow – following you wherever you go. A good reputation, on the other hand doesn't follow you – it precedes you. Instead of gossip under people's breath, it's words and thoughts of approval, acclaim, and admiration.
Proverbs 22:1 says
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
Here's the good news: we've been saved by our big brother Jesus, who knew our bad reputation was fully earned. The beauty of His salvation is that even though we didn't deserve or earn His favor, he gave it to us anyway. He saved us to give us the opportunity to live a life that turns our evil reputation on its head. In fact, it's not our reputation that we're building with our acts of hospitality – our acts of charity, of justice, of human kindness – it's His. The point of Christian kindness is not to prove to how great we are -- but to show how that change is not just preferable, it's possible.
The family of God, the Church, even a local church can gain a collective reputation. "THAT church??? They're all about money. They're all style, no substance. They're only interested in the bible, or, they're not interested in the bible at all."
What do you think people in the Rainier Valley say about Rainier Valley Church? Do you think we have a good reputation in our community or a bad one? How about this likely alternative: we don't have a reputation at all! As I see it, our anonymity is a double-edged sword. Honestly, I doubt we have made major impression on the South Seattle neighborhood – but that also means we have a relatively clean slate. That's as good of a place to start as any.
1 Peter 2:12 says
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
This verse in 1 Timothy gives us a clear challenge: love children, love your neighbors, love and serve each other, love and serve those who can't help themselves, love those who are being oppressed. These are the things we are called, challenged, and (dare I say) commanded to devote ourselves to.
Think of it! What would happen it If Rainier Valley Church had a excellent reputation throughout South Seattle? What if we were known by every good work we do? What if we were known by our love?
Let's all take today to pray that the Holy Spirit would clearly bring to mind the people and opportunities that are right in front us. Who can you bless TODAY? Who can I? How? With time? With service? With a phone call? With a kind word? A home-cooked meal? Decide today who you will serve, and how you will serve them. We have a reputation to build – and it's worth the effort.
Take some time to pray and write down a few names of people you believe God is calling you to bless and serve this week: ____________________________________________________
What ways can you serve others (Encouraging word, practical help, prayer, etc):___________________________________
Who could you call or text today to encourage them: ________________________________________________________________
Who can you be praying for this week: